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"And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31)
- God's Little Folk -
On the sixth day of creation, God made them, and us!
- Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus) -
(click on the photos to enlarge)
Mary spotted this viceroy butterfly resting in the grass while we were on one of our walks. It was slowly opening and closing its wings. The viceroy butterfly looks similar to the monarch, except that the viceroy has a thin black line running across its rear wings somewhat parallel to the outer black border. The outer black border of the viceroy also has a single white dot in each "segment" of both wings.
The caterpillar stage of the viceroy butterfly can most often be found on trees of the willow family, such as willows, poplars and cottonwoods. The male viceroy can also be seen during the day flying around these host trees looking for a female viceroy butterfly or perched on other vegetation. The female viceroy butterfly lays her eggs at the tip of the host tree leaves, but only two or three eggs are laid by her before she moves on to another tree. This is obviously a way of insuring that a maximum number of her offspring will survive. This requires a degree of intelligence that we humans all too often fail to accept exists in other creatures.
While we were taking these pictures, this viceroy butterfly would occasionally move around. It may have been feeding on something, but we could not determine that. Viceroy butterflies most often feed on flowers, but when they are not readily available they will feed on aphid honeydew, decaying fungi, and even carrion and dung.
In this photo we can also see the the inner black band with two large white dots and one very small one beginning from the leading edge of the front wings with one dot in each of the first three "segments", with a trailing thin black line ending in the outer black band. The wing span of the viceroy butterfly can vary from 2-1/2 to 3-3/8 inches. The one pictured here appeared to be on the smaller side. This viceroy appears to have sustained an injury to the outer edge of the left rear wing.
Reference source: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
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Photos by Frank L. Hoffman unless otherwise noted
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